Oct 1
Spooky75
Spooky75 , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

Stroke, Sleep Apnea and Survival

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Stroke.

I knew it, too, when the doctor confirmed it.

I woke up June 27, 2018, primed to get ready for work. My knee gave out when I was walking the short distance from my bed to the bathroom. I also noticed that my left arm and shoulder felt weak and heavy. It was a very odd feeling, and I knew something was wrong.

I got back in bed and tried to fall back asleep. I hoped I'd feel better with more rest.

Nope.

The weakness was still there. But I still drove to work. I still ordered my coffee. I still went to that big meeting. Then I tried to type.

Fail.

I couldn't type properly.

My symptoms were all on the left side. I knew what it was.

Stroke.

So there I was, 42, calling my mom to tell her I was going to an acute care center because I knew something was wrong. I texted my sister, a nurse, and we went over stroke protocol. All I had was the left-side weakness. But I knew that meant I'd had a stroke on the right side of my brain. I'm WebMd-neurotic like that.

At the acute care center, my blood pressure was through the roof. It was considered a hypertensive crisis. Soon after, I was whisked off to a hospital in an ambulance.

My parents, siblings, grandparents and friends quickly rushed to my side in the ER. I kept asking my sister if I was going to die. It was surreal and scary.

I had a barrage of tests over the next three days. EKG. Normal. Echocardiogram. Normal. Ultrasound. Chest X-ray. TEE. Normal. Normal. Normal.

The MRI confirmed the stroke. It happened in my sleep. It was considered "minor" (but is there ever such a thing as a "minor" stroke?). They told me I was too young to have a stroke. Yep, I know. But what caused it?

It wasn't until after seeing a neurologist and then a cardiologist a few weeks later, and wearing a Holter monitor that revealed bradycardia in my sleep, that we found the problem: Sleep Apnea. Yes, sleep apnea caused my stroke.

So where am I now, three months later? Each day is different. Getting dressed is sometimes tough because my stroke arm decides to cramp up. Or my stroke leg feels stiff after sitting for a couple of hours. Oh, and I tend to walk too slow ... but I DID finish a 5k at work recently (almost last place, but whatever. What an accomplishment!).

I've "graduated" from physical and occupational therapy. I'm still working on my balance. My left side, especially my arm, is hyper-reflexive. I can tell you funny stories of spilling wine on myself because of my "stupid left arm" or spilling my dinner all over the stove because of that arm. I can laugh about those things.

I have a CPAP machine and finally don't feel exhausted all day. That's great!

What else? Lack of emotions. Most of the time, I feel no extremes in terms of happiness or sadness or anger or ... anything, really. This can be very frustrating. Sometimes I just want to cry … and I just can’t.

I know I'll continue to get stronger, physically and emotionally, as time goes on. What matters is I'm still here. And I share my story whenever I can, because if I can save one person from having a stroke due to undiagnosed sleep apnea, then this will all have been worth it.

6 Comments
  • AHAASAKatie
    AHAASAKatie,

    Thank you for this.Best Katie 

  • michele101
    michele101,

    Thanks for sharing. I am happy to hear you are doing better. 

    I am now going to be tested for sleep apnea.  I am HF (heart failure)  EF was at 15 %.  So we are trying to figure out why. 

    Michele

  • JohnMikelObi
    JohnMikelObi,

    I suffered a massive stroke 2years ago it came from nowhere I was at work just walking it hit me I fell to ground and couldn’t pick myself back up, I laid on the floor for 5 hours before someone found me it’s only by the grace of god that I survived my, after 5 hours I finally received medical treatment it’s been 2 years I’m still unable to use my left arm , or walk at the moment, I went online to search for help, then i came across a comment of someone that had malfunction neurons (paralysis) of how she became cured completely with Dr. Adebola's roots and herbs healing powers. So i decided to give a shot, and today i can walk, move my arms and also run. I can never thank Dr. Adebola enough. You can also contact him via his email address: dradebola@dr.com, dr.adebola12@yahoo.com
    Regards.

  • Kath2019
    Kath2019,

     My husband is getting tested for sleep apnea in May. He suffered a stroke two weeks ago. Thank you for sharing your story. 

  • TEAMGUZMAN
    TEAMGUZMAN,

    Good Morning! Same here! Cryptogenic stroke survivor 2017. I had all tests done, couldn't find the source. Finally, about 6 months ago, my neurologist suggested I get a sleep apnea test. I was in denial that I even had it, so I did not have the test done immediately. (shame on me). So last month, I did the test at home. THe results were terryfying to me. I stopped breathing 44 times throughout the night. I have severe sleep apnea. I sleep with a CPAP now. It's only been a week, but what a difference!

     

    More energy, no more waking up tired, no "brain fog". I am glad your husband i being tested. It could be the answer you are both looking for! 

     

    God bless, Toni

  • Ariadne147
    Ariadne147,

    Spooky, you beautiful lady, thank you for sharing your story. I’m convinced you will continue to grow stronger. Your story touched me personally because I just had new onset but f atrial fibrillation and the doctors believe it was caused my sleep apnea. I’ve known that I stop breathing in my sleep for years but thought it was no big deal. But it is and people need to be made aware!  Sleep apnea is the cause of strokes and heart disease. I’m scheduled for a sleep study this coming week and will make sure I use the CAPAP regularly. God bless!

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